Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan executed and left in mass grave

Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan has reportedly been executed by the Syrian government and buried in a mass grave according to Dr. Robert Russell of the Cartoonists Rights Network International. He was arrested earlier this spring for alleged “sedition and disrespecting the head of state” for posting his cartoons on Facebook.

From CRNI:

We’ve learned that on July 26, Akram Raslan and other prisoners of conscience including journalists, artists, singers and other intellectuals were secretly put on trial with no witnesses, no defense attorneys, no appeal, and no hope for justice. From unconfirmed and sketchy reports we learned that they were all condemned to life imprisonment.

Somehow, along the way to prison young 28-year-old Akram Raslan (and possibly others) was peeled off, taken out and executed. He is reported to be in a mass grave somewhere near Damascus. Our reliable but for obvious reasons anonymous sources further allege that the murder of Akram and other condemned prisoners was carried out by Mohammad Nassif Kheir Bek, currently the Deputy Vice President for Security Affairs in Syria. He has already been sanctioned by the European Union for the use of violence against protesters and the Syrian civil war.

Akram was honored as this year’s Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning.

UPDATE: Michael Cavna asks Dr. Robert Russell, who is reporting that Akram has been executed, if it has been confirmed. Russell says his source is Akram’s familiy, but it has not been independently confirmed. He sums up his efforts to get independent confirmation, “This place [Syria] is just a quagmire.”

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